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State seeking help with outreach for water issues in rural valley communities

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2022 Rural Communities Water Managers Leadership Institute

Self-Help Enterprises invites community water board members and staff, water leaders, and residents from rural communities to participate in the 2022 Rural Communities Water Managers Leadership Institute. The Leadership Institute consists of training, workshops, and educational tours focused on building and maintaining long-term water management expertise in rural communities. Residents can earn up to $600 upon completion of the program. 

Water planning is important to ensure that water sources are available over the long term and during drought periods. Through the Leadership Institute, water managers from rural communities will gain the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively participate and represent their communities in these regional water management programs.  

The Leadership Institute is being planned with in-person and virtual sessions and will be held simultaneously in English and Spanish. Sessions from May through July 2022 will be virtual and August through October 2022 will be in person. The application and more information are available online at

To date, the Leadership Institute has trained more than 65 new water leaders in rural communities from Merced County to Kern County. 

If you have any questions, please contact Manuel Leon at or (559) 802-1611. 

Dave Warner's Lifetime Achievement Award

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Dave Warner, who retired after 40 years of service to the residents of Kern County, received the Ronald A. Brummett Lifetime Achievement Award by the Kern Council of Governments in recognition of the work he accomplished with and for the Buttonwillow Water Services District. “Dave has existed to serve others. His compassion and desire to be the voice for the underserved is evident in each and every community he has served in the last 39 years,” Regina Houchin stated of the Buttonwillow County Water District. Safe drinking water, sewer facilities, installation of mainlines, or needed system repairs were at the top of Dave’s priorities for the people he served, as he was dedicated to providing sustainable resources to communities throughout San Joaquin Valley. Dave Warner exemplified our SHE Mission statement, no matter where he went, and we can all agree that he deserved to be recognized for the work he accomplished, not just in Buttonwillow, but across the Central Valley. Thank you, Dave!  

Impactful Conversations at Sequoia Commons

Self-Help Enterprises hosted California State Secretary of Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency Lourdes Castro Ramírez at our Sequoia Commons rental project in Goshen at the beginning of March. Patrick Isherwood and Betsy McGovern-Garcia of Self-Help Enterprises led her on a tour of Sequoia Commons, one of SHE's newest rental communities. Sequoia Commons includes a total of 126 multifamily housing units and includes an outdoor common area with a playground, barbecue pit, picnic tables, basketball court, and a 3,072 square feet community room equipped with a kitchen, bathrooms, laundry facility, computer lab, and separate management office. 

The event provided the opportunity for SHE staff and other local community partners to provide feedback to Secretary Castro Ramírez on various affordable housing programs and initiatives and discussed the ongoing housing needs of the San Joaquin Valley. The tour included viewing the solar PV inverters and generation meters, which provide renewable energy to offset the common area and residential electrical loads. 

Tom Collishaw and Betsy McGovern-Garcia then participated in a roundtable discussion with Secretary Castro Ramirez about the challenges and opportunities in creating affordable housing options in the San Joaquin Valley. The discussion was joined by several peers and partners including Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability, Faith in the Valley, RH Community Builders, Tulare/Kings Homeless Alliance, and the Kern County Housing Authority. The attendees shared challenges in accessing adequate resources to serve community members who are experiencing homelessness, and the lack of funding for ongoing supportive services. Additionally, the State’s investment in the Homekey program was discussed, and how to make those resources accessible to rural communities. All attendees were eager to share challenges and opportunities for expanding housing, sustainability initiatives, and other community-based programs to better serve the San Joaquin Valley! 


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